Cal Fire Tankers OK’d to Fly Again

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A Cal Fire tanker


Cal Fire’s tanker fleet can fly again, following a deadly crash earlier this week while fighting a fire near Yosemite National Park.

The National Transportation Safety Board released their initial findings, saying they found “no structural failures or aging aircraft issues involved in the crash”. Cal Fire then decided to resume normal flight activities.

Tuesday evening, pilot Geoffrey “Craig” Hunt was flying a S-2T Cal Fire tanker to make drops on the Dog Rock Fire, when his plane crashed. Hunt was the only person on board, and died in the crash.

His body was removed from the mountainous terrain Wednesday. The area is still near an active fire, hampering efforts of the NTSB to investigate the crash.

During a Friday morning press conference, a representative said it could take six-to-12 months to examine the wreckage. They also said the agency is still investigating what happened during the final moments before the tanker crashed.

The remaining 22 S-2T tankers in Cal Fire’s fleet were grounded Tuesday night following the crash.

After the Cal Fire tankers were grounded earlier this week, other aircraft and agencies helped battle the Dog Rock Fire.

The fire is now 311 acres big, and is only 20% contained. Highway 140 into Yosemite is still closed.

Marin Austin contributed to this report